Post-disaster construction waste management strategies: Case study Canterbury earthquake

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University and The University of Auckland
Natural disasters generate enormous amounts of waste, which adversely impacts on public health and the environment. The increasing number of natural disasters has made post-disaster construction and demolition (C&D) waste management a crucial component of disaster recovery. This became apparent in New Zealand after the Canterbury region suffered enormously from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. The East Coast City of Christchurch was severely affected, with the resulting demolition of around 1,400 commercial properties and 7,500 residential properties. It was estimated that this generated approximately 4 million tonnes of debris and probably more than a million tonnes from repairs. The government-appointed Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) led and coordinated the recovery effort, including post-disaster C&D waste management. This paper reflects on the post-earthquake C&D waste management processes and their limitations, and makes recommendations to improve operations in future disasters. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with government and non-government organisations involved with C&D waste management, including CERA and accredited demolition contractors. Findings revealed that the “pick and go” strategy introduced by CERA was very effective, as it directed debris straight into the end-use market. This study identified a number of limitations in the current C&D waste management process, such as lack of pre-event planning; poor coordination between local authorities and contractors during the recovery, incomplete policies and acts, and insufficient capacity in C&D waste facilities to process waste. The findings from this research contribute to a growing body of literature on Post-disaster C&D waste management. This paper recommends the creation of a powerful organisation with a clear responsibility and goal to fully control waste management in future disasters in New Zealand.
6th International Conference on Building Resilience:, 2016, pp. 733 - 743